skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 202070 Find in a Library
Title: Attitudinal and Situational Factors as Predictors of Self-Reported Likelihood of Sexual Assault
Journal: Journal of Crime & Justice  Volume:26  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:71-94
Author(s): Jeffrey A. Bouffard; M. Lyn Exum
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study integrated individual attitudinal characteristics and situational factors to determine their predictive value for the self-reported probability of committing sexual assault.
Abstract: Study participants were 89 college undergraduates, mostly working-class male students from a small university, who completed questionnaires that measured the presence of coercive sexual fantasies and sexually coercive attitudes. Participants then read a short "acquaintance-rape" scenario and reported their level of arousal and likelihood of sexual assault (acting as the male in the scenario). The study tested three hypotheses. Hypothesis one stated that trait measures of coercive fantasy use and coercion-supportive attitudes would increase self-reported likelihood of sexual aggression. Hypothesis two stated that the trait measures of coercive fantasy use and coercion-supportive attitudes would impact the situational experience of sexual arousal and perceptions of victim's pain, pleasure, and willingness to engage in sex. Hypothesis three proposed that the state-level experience of sexual arousal and perceptions of victim's pleasure and willingness, in addition to the trait measures of coercive sexual fantasy and coercive attitudes, would increase the self-reported likelihood of hypothetical sexual assault. Overall, the findings show that participants' level of sexually coercive fantasy use and coercive attitudes influenced their self-reported likelihood of sexual aggression, supporting hypothesis one. These effects were partially mediated by perceptions of the victim, as well as the participant's current state of arousal, supporting hypothesis three. Although the level of fantasy did not apparently have a direct effect on self-reported likelihood of sexual coercion controlling for attitudes, coercive fantasy use did have an indirect effect by increasing arousal to cues of sexual aggression. Overall, the results suggest three distinct components of the individual that may affect the likelihood of sexual aggression: an emotional component represented by the trait measure of arousability to coercive content; a disinhibitory component represented by the participant's current perceptions of the victim's pain; and attitudes supportive of sexual coercion. Implications of the findings for future research and the prevention of sexual aggression are discussed. 1 figure and 40 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Acquaintance rape; Adolescent attitudes; Antisocial attitudes; Attitudes toward victims; Rape causes; Self-report studies; Sex offenders; Sexual assault
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.